Two Scottish flavoured films “Rob Roy” and “Braveheart” came out in 1998. The first is a romantic look at the life and times of a family made famous through the writings of various novelists. 

The scenery is beautiful and breathtaking as is to be expected and the story line has all the ingredients of the traditional romantic drama. Morag was a Gregor prior to our marriage and was well aware of the story and how it has been embellished over the years.

As a matter of interest the term ‘blackmail’ was brought about by the cattle drovers of the Highlands of Scotland when those who were moving stock to market passed through the lands owned or managed by various other families. 

To give protection to these drovers a ‘fee’ or in the Gaelic ‘mail’ was charged. The ‘black’ related to the colour of the cattle. Therefore ‘blackmail’ was a fee charge for the movement of cattle through this area of the highlands.

We, as descendants of the person known as Alexander Kneeland or Cleland, should be pleased that we received a mention in the film “Braveheart”. There were two references made which you should be aware of. 

The first is that the priest who buried William Wallace’s father, Adam, would have been Alexander Cleland as he was Adam’s brother in law and a priest. (Bear in mind this was over 700 years ago and there was only one Christian church.)

The second is the character represented as William’s uncle who, after Adam’s death took William away and gave him an education, emphasising the use of the brain to win not just the brawn. 

In the film the character says “I’m Argyle your uncle.” This is quite obviously wrong at least to us Clelands. Apart from the fact that Alexander was married to Margaret Wallace, only sister of Adam, the involvement of ‘highlanders’ in this story is quite wrong. At least in the early stages as all the action took place around the Glasgow area some 700 years ago and communications in those days were not the best.

The other indication that the ‘Campbells’ or the ‘McGregors’ came over the hill from the glen next door is also a bit of a problem historically. However, again the scenery was breathtaking and I’m sure the odd bit of artistic licence should not spoil a good story and one that needs to be repeated over and over again ‘least we forget’.

See if you can get hold of “The Blood is Strong.” I think it is a British BBC production or ” Held in Trust.” again I think another BBC production.
The Blood is Strong is about the Highland clearances and Held in trust is about the Scottish National Trust properties. Both well worth viewing.